Fleet News

Fleets 'ignoring' new phone laws

A RISK management expert has accused fleet decision-makers of 'burying their heads in the sand' over forthcoming legislation that will ban the use of hand-held mobile phones while driving.

Chris Howell, operations director of Risk Answers, believes fleet executives are under pressure from sales and operations directors who fear changing working practices to prepare for the ban will dramatically reduce customer service levels and corporate profitability as the ability to keep in touch with clients will be reduced. Howell said a comprehensive review of mobile phone use by businesses was essential.

He said: 'Businesses are wasting thousands of pounds a year because they do not have a comprehensive mobile phone policy for company car drivers. Too many 'lonely' company car drivers are using in-car mobile phones as an excuse to hold lengthy conversations with friends and colleagues.

'Also, poor sales staff territory planning and no standard procedures for handling customer calls in offices when staff are on the move further increases mobile phone use.'

To comply with the expected legislation, Risk Answers suggests drivers should only use their mobile phones when parked. And it highlights the importance of utility companies, whose employees typically contact a customer by phone to notify them of time of arrival, putting in place new procedures. This could include the driver paging head office, informing them that they are leaving the previous job and then someone in the office calling the next customer.

Risk Answers claims that following one of its safety audits, a client will save £128,000 a year after reducing average mobile phone bills by 60% to £112 per person per month after new best practice procedures were adopted.

Howell said: 'We discovered that individual employees were using mobile phones more frequently and making longer calls partly due to work procedures which they were being asked to follow. This was due to poor in-office call-handling procedures and inefficient sales territory planning.'

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